are dove upland game birds

Upland Game Wild Bird hunts are specially managed hunting opportunities on private and public lands for upland game birds including; pheasant, chukar, quail, wild turkey and dove. Hunters must be successfully drawn through the ALDS random drawing application to participate. To apply hunters must have a valid California hunting license. Adult hunters must also purchase an Upland Game Bird Stamp to hunt upland game birds.

Hunting opportunities, application deadlines and other hunt information on Upland Game Wild Bird Hunts are listed under the “game bird” tabs below.

Biology, Habitat Requirements, Distribution, and Populations in Northcentral Texas

North Central Texas is home to a diverse range of upland game birds and mammals that offer hunters and nature lovers opportunities for hunting and viewing. However, the habitats they need and live in are essential to their survival. Many of these species thrive as renewable resources when hunting is controlled by seasons and bag limits, along with appropriate habitat management.

In North Central Texas, almost all wildlife habitat is found on privately owned farms, ranches, and other properties. In many areas of North Central Texas, the habitat for upland game species is not consistent and may not be able to sustain large annual populations. Because every species has different needs for food, cover, water, and space throughout the year, upland game populations can only be sustained with careful management.

Large, formerly continuous habitat areas are now divided into progressively smaller units, which hinders the ability of many upland game species to procreate and survive. In certain places, the surviving habitat islands are frequently insufficient to support the populations of numerous highland game species.

Carrying capacity for many upland game species is directly influenced by and determined by land use practices. Since landowners and land managers get paid by hunters who lease their rights, it is economically important for them to provide and maintain habitat for these species. In many circumstances, the revenue from controlled hunting may surpass that of conventional agriculture. Although most upland game species’ habitat management is compatible with other land uses, some concessions are frequently needed to meet the biological needs of upland game species and maintain annual populations. The key is habitat-habitat-habitat!.

The following details are provided to give a general understanding of the biology, habitat needs, distribution, and populations of the various upland game species found in North Central Texas.

All counties in North Central Texas are home to bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), although habitat quality and population levels differ among the ecological zones in District 3. Annual populations fluctuate considerably and follow long-term cyclic rainfall patterns. Rainfall patterns throughout the year also affect the vegetative growth of forbs that produce seed that is essential to bobwhites’ diet and perennial grasses that serve as nesting cover. Additionally, insects are a vital food source, especially for young bobwhites.

For bobwhites to avoid predators and to stay protected from the weather, they need woody escape cover. Furthermore, the ability of habitat in Northcentral Texas to support populations of bobwhites is influenced by land use practices such as farming, livestock grazing, the use of herbicides for vegetation control, brush management, predators, and the conversion of native rangelands to improved pastures.

Learn more about Bobwhites in Bobwhite Habitat Management in the Cross Timbers and Prairiesmedia download(PDF 222.1 KB) by Jim Dillard, Technical Guidance Biologist.

Historically, the rangelands of North Central Texas’s Rolling Plains and West Cross Timbers have had higher bobwhite populations. To manage this game bird and maintain annual huntable populations, the best option is to have large ranches with large, contiguous habitat areas. Wildlife biologists and wildlife technicians of District 3 count roadside quail census lines annually to obtain data on both annual and long-term population trends.

For details on North Central Texas’s bobwhite open season dates and bag limits, consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual. The websites for each county also contain information on hunting seasons and bag limits. Click to locate your county.

In the Edwards Plateau and Rolling Plains Ecological Regions of District 3, the extreme western and southwestern counties of North Central Texas are home to the Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), also known as “blue quail” or “cotton-top.” The amount of land used, the patterns of rainfall and temperature, and the quality of the habitat—which offers the required space, food, and cover—all affect annual population fluctuations. During the winter, this species may congregate in large coveys of thirty or more birds, and it prefers to run than to hold and flush like bobwhites. They consume insects, berries, green leaves, shoots, and seeds from weeds. Gray feathers with a characteristic scale-like appearance and a white-tipped head crest are the characteristic features. In some of the western counties of North Central Texas, where both species may be encountered, their range overlaps with that of bobwhites.

In North Central Texas, populations have decreased over the years, but new surveys suggest that numbers may be rising. For details on Northcentral Texas’s scaled quail open season dates and bag limits, consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual.

Where appropriate habitat exists, all counties in North Central Texas are home to Rio Grande turkeys (Meleagris gallapavo). Some of the largest populations of Rio Grande turkeys in Texas and the United States can be found in the western and southwestern regions of Northcentral Texas. In North Central Texas, populations of this upland game bird experienced significant growth in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s restocking efforts, natural reproduction, and range expansion during this time. The Rio Grande turkey population fluctuates yearly and is highly variable throughout the region, contingent upon favorable nesting-period rainfall and overall habitat conditions. Numbers may decrease during protracted dry spells and then increase during rainy years. Rio Grande turkeys need tall trees to roost in, as well as grasses, brush, and good ground vegetation for nesting and the survival of their young (poults). This species uses the riparian zones along the region’s streams and rivers as vital habitat for roosting, nesting, water, food production, and cover. Turkeys may also spend the winter on hillsides with large oak trees and other native tree species, although their winter roosts are typically located along these drainages. Hens scatter from their winter range to nest during the nesting season, sometimes covering long distances. Young reach adult size by early fall.

Throughout the year, Rio Grande turkeys consume a variety of foods, such as insects, invertebrates (worms, snails, spiders, and arthropods), fruits, nuts, and acorns, as well as seeds from grasses and forbs and greens. The District 3 wildlife biologist and wildlife technician uses hen-poult surveys, which are carried out in the late summer, to measure the annual reproductive success.

Most counties in North Central Texas have hunting seasons for Rio Grande turkeys in the spring and fall. Please consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual for information on specific county regulations, bag limits, and season listings. To hunt turkeys, you need a state turkey stamp and a hunting license.

All counties in North Central Texas are home to mourning doves (Zenaida macroura), which are significant migratory upland game birds for hunters. Mourning doves are year-round residents in the area, and in the late summer and early fall, when the weather is cooler and the winds are coming from the north, they migrate into and through the area. Wildlife biologists and wildlife technicians in District 3 conduct annual mourning dove coo call surveys in May to ascertain long-term population trends.

For nesting and feeding, this species adapts to a range of habitat types. Mourning doves nest in trees or on the ground. Every year, two or more clutches containing two eggs each are produced. Young are fed “pigeon milk” and later seeds. Doves consume the seeds of many different kinds of native grasses and forbs. Common food items include annual sunflowers, croton, ragweed, annual grasses, and waste grains like oats, wheat, and milo. Being a mobile species, the mourning dove can travel great distances to find food and water sources. Large groups of mourning doves may be drawn to agricultural fields in late summer and early fall to feed on leftover grain, native annual sunflower patches, and other forbs (weeds). Overhunting for extended periods of time may cause local bird populations to relocate to adjacent fields.

August agricultural field cultivation, which is done in order to plant fall cereal grains, frequently decreases food availability and increases mourning dove migration to other areas. Large-scale tree and brush removal may also lessen the area where local mourning doves can build their nests. Cold fronts frequently cause dove populations to temporarily rise in September and October by moving them from the central United States southward into North Central Texas. During the winter, a portion of the mourning dove population moves south into south Texas, Mexico, and Central America.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, which is empowered by the U.S. government, determines hunting seasons and daily bag limits. S. Two zones in North Central Texas will offer hunting opportunities, according to Fish and Wildlife Service. I-20 and I-30 divide the South Zone and the North Zone. For information on hunting seasons, zones, and bag limits for mourning doves in Northcentral Texas, consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual. Additionally, there are public dove hunting opportunities in North Central Texas at Ray Roberts Public Hunting Area in Denton, Cooke, and Grayson counties, as well as on lands leased from private landowners under the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Public Hunting Program ($48 annual hunting permit).

In North Central Texas, white-winged doves (Zenadia asiatica) are a relatively recent arrival, and their numbers seem to be rising yearly. Over the past 30 years, white-wings have spread throughout most of Texas from their traditional range in Mexico, along the Rio Grande River, and in the brushlands of south and southwest Texas. Loss of habitat in those areas and the development of suitable nesting habitat in urban areas to the north may be the cause of the expansion northward. There are significant concentrations in San Antonio, Austin, Waco, San Angelo, Abilene, and most other northern cities. They are now year-round residents in Northcentral Texas. Some move south to south Texas, Mexico, and Central America in the winter.

In leafy trees, white-winged teals construct rudimentary stick nests and deposit two eggs within. In the late summer, early fall, and early winter, they forage in agricultural fields and eat seeds and certain fruits. They are also attracted to backyard bird feeder.

In the hunting zones of North Central Texas, mourning doves and white-winged doves are included in the season and bag limits. During the open season, it is legal to hunt or possess white-winged doves if you have a hunting license and a migratory game bird stamp. For details on Northcentral Texas’s white-winged dove hunting zones, seasons, and bag limits, consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual.

Other Dove Species: North Central Texas is home to a number of additional species of doves belonging to the Columbidae family, including the small Inca (Columbina inca) and common ground dove (C passerina), Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto), rock doves or pigeons (Columba livia), and white-tipped dove (Leptotila verreauxi)

Northcentral Texas is home to fox squirrels (Sciurus niger), though they are less prevalent in the far western parts of the state. They live in many different kinds of habitats, such as urban areas, upland savannahs, oak woodlands, and riparian zones. Due to its high degree of adaptability, this species has probably profited from the opening of sizable, continuous forests. In North Central Texas, populations are typically highest near streams and rivers where woody species like pecan, elm, oak, and other mast and fruit-producing species grow. They will also consume insects, seeds from other woody plants, and green shoots and buds. They can store acorns for future use, which is a staple in their diet. Fox squirrels nest in tree cavities or build leaf nests. An average of four young are raised annually during the two breeding seasons, which take place in January–February and May–June.

While many counties in East Texas have set seasons and bag limits, North Central Texas allows year-round hunting with no bag limit. A hunting license is required.

Eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) and desert cottontail rabbits (S. audubonii) are found in Northcentral Texas. While eastern cottontails are found in the eastern three-fourths of the state, desert cottontails are found in the Rolling Plains, Trans Pecos, and High Plains regions as well as in the far western parts of North Central Texas. Although the western species has longer ears, both species have similar appearances. Throughout the region, cottontails live in open rangeland, field borders, and roadsides. They consume grasses and forbs, though they occasionally consume shrub bark and twigs. All year long, cottontails can give birth to four or five litters of four young. Populations fluctuate with weather patterns. During wet cycles, numbers may increase dramatically. Cottontails may become problematic in gardens, croplands, and urban environments.

Numerous raptors and mammals prey on cottontails, making them an essential “buffer species.” They play a significant role in the diets of carnivores like bobcats, foxes, and coyotes.

In Texas, there are no closed seasons or bag limits for cottontails because they are considered nongame animals. They offer hunters a great deal of recreational hunting opportunities, and they can be hunted on private property at any time and by any lawful means or methods. A hunting license is required to hunt cottontails.

Northcentral Texas is home to a number of species of furbearing mammals, including the gray fox (Urocyon cirereoargenteus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), American beaver (Castor canadensis), ring-tail (Bassariscus astutus), nutria (Myocastor coypus), Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), mink (Mustela vison), muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), ring-tail (Bassariscus astutus), western spotted skunk (Spilogale gracilis), and eastern spotted skunk (S putorius), common hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus mesoleucus), and striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) They live in a variety of habitats, including open rangelands and riparian and streamside vegetative zones. These species are essential to many wildlife species’ predator-prey relationships in the ecosystems of North Central Texas. Many of these species aid in preventing small mammal overpopulations, which may have an adverse effect on the quality of habitat for other species. Populations fluctuate with long-term weather patterns and cycles. It has historically been profitable for hunters to trap many of these species for the fur trade. Currently, low market demand has led to many of these species’ populations growing.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual and a supplement on Fur Bearing Animal Regulations contain information on seasons, bag limits, taking furbearing animals, and other special rules.

Although they originated in China, ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) were brought to the United States in the late 1800s. The High Plains and Coastal Prairies, two of Texas’ most productive agricultural regions, are home to the majority of the state’s population. The growth of pheasants in these areas has been facilitated by landowners and Texas Parks and Wildlife releasing pheasants. Pheasant releases in North Central Texas have not proven successful, with the exception of the northern Wilbarger County agricultural region, where irrigated croplands and shelterbelts offer sufficient year-round habitat.

A pheasant open season has been declared for Wilbarger County, located in North Central Texas. The Outdoor Annual contains information on pheasant laws in other Texas counties. In Wilbarger County, you need a hunting license in order to hunt pheasants.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Wild Bird Hunt Draw Procedures

  • Following the application deadline, the License and Revenue Branch designates a unique random number to each “application” (or party) using a computer. The same random number is assigned to hunters who apply as a party as the leader of the party.
  • The computer starts allocating applicants’ first choices in a random order, from the lowest random number to the highest random number, and continues doing so until all quotas are filled or all applications are processed.
  • After processing all first choices, if permit quotas are still unfilled, the process is repeated for second and third choices until all quotas are filled or all applications are processed.
  • Note: If the number of party members exceeds the number of permits available, party applications are not split to meet the permit quota. In order to fill the permit quota when there are fewer permits available than the number of party members, the computer selects the applicant with the next lowest random number instead of going through the party.


Are dove considered upland birds?

Upland Game Wild Bird hunts are specially managed hunting opportunities on private and public lands for upland game birds including; pheasant, chukar, quail, wild turkey and dove.

What are upland gamebirds?

Upland game bird is an American term which refers to non-water fowl game birds in groundcover-rich terrestrial ecosystems above wetlands and riparian zones (i.e. “uplands”), which are commonly hunted with gun dogs (pointing breeds, flushing spaniels and retrievers).

Which of the following is an example of an upland game bird?

Popular upland birds that are found across the country include turkeys, pheasants, grouse, and quail. The term “upland” refers to where they are often found.

What is the difference between upland and waterfowl?

Unlike aquatic and semiaquatic bird species (waterfowls and shorebirds), upland birds are terrestrial and tend to be found strictly on the dry lands above the high mark of waterbodies, often hidden in heavy groundcover, so hunters generally employ the use of gun dogs to locate, expose and retrieve game.